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Subject: How many people does God love? rss

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According to many Christians God loves everyone.

But according to the two theological systems I know of I don't believe it.

In determinism, lets be honest, God clearly loves those destined for heaven and not so much those he decided to send to hell.

In indeterminism it might seem like people can choose to be in communion with God, but that only applies to those who hear about Jesus. This rules out anyone who lived before him, the majority of his contemporaries and even a large portion of people who lived after him.

Perhaps we need a post-Jesus Christianity where God loves everyone not just a select few.
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism.
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I'm not particularly a fan of Christian theology, but this critique seems weak.

Calvinism is the main hard deterministic branch of Christianity and I think it's safe to say that God_Calvinism doesn't love everyone. Calvinists, however, tend to be up-front about this, e.g. Josiah's recent thread in which he said that God does things for the benefit of the elect (not the un-elect).

Very few Christian sects would say that someone who has never heard of Jesus is damned, and that critique is especially weak when it comes to those who came before Jesus was born, since that began a new covenant -- before Jesus there was (presumably) a different method for selecting who went to Heaven.

As for a Christianity where God loves (and saves) everyone...perhaps you'd enjoy attending services with the Universalist Unitarians.
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Totally depends on how you define "love". Even Calvinists like me recognize the concept of "common grace" as shown in Matthew 5:44-45:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

But in the matter of salvation, there are certainly those destined for judgment. See Romans 9:11-13:

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”


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frumpish wrote:
Perhaps we need a post-Jesus Christianity where God loves everyone not just a select few.
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism. I think they want God to only love them and people like them.


Baptism for the dead. So once you have gone through all this and get a glimpse of what's going on after this place, you can have the choice of accepting a proxy baptism performed for you.

Because God loves everyone.
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The one nice thing about determinism is that I can completely disregard it.

I'm either one of the elect or I'm not. And there's nothing I can do about it either way.
 
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frumpish wrote:
The one nice thing about determinism is that I can completely disregard it.

I'm either one of the elect or I'm not. And there's nothing I can do about it either way.


Calvinism isn't really deterministic in that sense of the word. The Bible is pretty clear that you CAN do something about it: become a Christian. It's just that if you do so, it was your destiny to do so all along. Calvinism is distinct from fatalism and antinomianism, but it's easy to see why people get them confused.
 
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happyjosiah wrote:
Calvinism isn't really deterministic in that sense of the word. The Bible is pretty clear that you CAN do something about it: become a Christian. It's just that if you do so, it was your destiny to do so all along. Calvinism is distinct from fatalism and antinomianism, but it's easy to see why people get them confused.


Actually, it's deterministic in exactly that way. If an all-powerful being creates a living organism with both knowledge of everything it will ever do and intent that it will do precisely those things, then to say that the organism can do something "about it" does violence to language.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
Calvinism isn't really deterministic in that sense of the word. The Bible is pretty clear that you CAN do something about it: become a Christian. It's just that if you do so, it was your destiny to do so all along. Calvinism is distinct from fatalism and antinomianism, but it's easy to see why people get them confused.


Actually, it's deterministic in exactly that way. If an all-powerful being creates a living organism with both knowledge of everything it will ever do and intent that it will do precisely those things, then to say that the organism can do something "about it" does violence to language.


Just because your mind does not work that way does not do "violence to language."

I find it funny when people try to catch God in a paradox.
 
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costguy wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
Calvinism isn't really deterministic in that sense of the word. The Bible is pretty clear that you CAN do something about it: become a Christian. It's just that if you do so, it was your destiny to do so all along. Calvinism is distinct from fatalism and antinomianism, but it's easy to see why people get them confused.


Actually, it's deterministic in exactly that way. If an all-powerful being creates a living organism with both knowledge of everything it will ever do and intent that it will do precisely those things, then to say that the organism can do something "about it" does violence to language.


Just because your mind does not work that way does not do "violence to language."

I find it funny when people try to catch God in a paradox.


"Your mind does not work that way?" Really? How does one's mind work where a predestined life is not deterministic?
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costguy wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
Calvinism isn't really deterministic in that sense of the word. The Bible is pretty clear that you CAN do something about it: become a Christian. It's just that if you do so, it was your destiny to do so all along. Calvinism is distinct from fatalism and antinomianism, but it's easy to see why people get them confused.


Actually, it's deterministic in exactly that way. If an all-powerful being creates a living organism with both knowledge of everything it will ever do and intent that it will do precisely those things, then to say that the organism can do something "about it" does violence to language.


Just because your mind does not work that way does not do "violence to language."

I find it funny when people try to catch God in a paradox.


To each their own. I find it funny when people resort to ad hominem to support their beliefs instead of making an actual argument.
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frumpish wrote:
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism. I think they want God to only love them and people like them.


I think generalizing and stereotyping upsets them more.
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quozl wrote:
frumpish wrote:
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism. I think they want God to only love them and people like them.


I think generalizing and stereotyping upsets them more.


But having the plumbing back up upsets them further still.
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quozl wrote:
frumpish wrote:
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism. I think they want God to only love them and people like them.


I think generalizing and stereotyping upsets them more.


Yeah, I regret writing that. Thinking about Christianity gets me really upset and sometimes I lash out.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
happyjosiah wrote:
Calvinism isn't really deterministic in that sense of the word. The Bible is pretty clear that you CAN do something about it: become a Christian. It's just that if you do so, it was your destiny to do so all along. Calvinism is distinct from fatalism and antinomianism, but it's easy to see why people get them confused.


Actually, it's deterministic in exactly that way. If an all-powerful being creates a living organism with both knowledge of everything it will ever do and intent that it will do precisely those things, then to say that the organism can do something "about it" does violence to language.


I have always considered this an offense against logic, but perhaps it is more accurate to describe it as an offense against language.

Interesting.
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frumpish wrote:
quozl wrote:
frumpish wrote:
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism. I think they want God to only love them and people like them.


I think generalizing and stereotyping upsets them more.


Yeah, I regret writing that. Thinking about Christianity gets me really upset and sometimes I lash out.


So what is it that you see about Christianity that upsets you to this degree... and how does that vary (if at all) from your day-to-day interactions with your Christian neighbors, friends and co-workers?

EDIT: I ask because it seems easier to get upset at whole concepts in the large scheme of things, but it varies greatly from the experience as it gets more granular.
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frumpish wrote:
According to many Christians God loves everyone.

But according to the two theological systems I know of I don't believe it.

In determinism, lets be honest, God clearly loves those destined for heaven and not so much those he decided to send to hell.

In indeterminism it might seem like people can choose to be in communion with God, but that only applies to those who hear about Jesus. This rules out anyone who lived before him, the majority of his contemporaries and even a large portion of people who lived after him.

Perhaps we need a post-Jesus Christianity where God loves everyone not just a select few.
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism. I think they want God to only love them and people like them.


Sounds like a strawman in the making. I'm Roman Catholic, and I was raised to believe (and still believe) that God loves all of us, as we are all of his children. I believe that God gives us the choice as to how we live our lives, and that there are consequences for poor choices. I believe God grieves when any one of his children makes poor choices and suffers for those choices. God doesn't send anyone to hell, but he laid out the rules as to how to attain Heaven or Hell, and he grants us free will to make bad decisions and send ourselves to where ever we end up.

Notes: A quick review on the Catholic Church and Free Will, from Wikipedia - the go-to source for all kinds of information!
Theologians of the Catholic Church universally embrace the idea of free will, but generally do not view free will as existing apart from or in contradiction to grace. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote extensively on free will, with Augustine focusing on the importance of free will in his responses to the Manichaeans, and also on the limitations of a concept of unlimited free will as denial of grace, in his refutations of Pelagius.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church suggests that "Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will".[42] It goes on to say that "God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. "God willed that man should be 'left in the hand of his own counsel,' so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him.""[43] The section concludes with the role that grace plays, "By the working of grace the Holy Spirit educates us in spiritual freedom in order to make us free collaborators in his work in the Church and in the world."[44]

Catholic Christianity views on free will and grace are often contrasted with predestination in Reformed Protestant Christianity, especially after the Counter-Reformation, but in understanding differing conceptions of free will it is just as important to understand the differing conceptions of the nature of God, focusing on the idea that God can be all-powerful and all-knowing even while people continue to exercise free will, because God does not exist in time.

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frumpish wrote:
According to many Christians God loves everyone.

But according to the two theological systems I know of I don't believe it.

In determinism, lets be honest, God clearly loves those destined for heaven and not so much those he decided to send to hell.

In indeterminism it might seem like people can choose to be in communion with God, but that only applies to those who hear about Jesus. This rules out anyone who lived before him, the majority of his contemporaries and even a large portion of people who lived after him.

Perhaps we need a post-Jesus Christianity where God loves everyone not just a select few.
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism. I think they want God to only love them and people like them.


Your arguement isn't just weak, it is inaccurate.

Ok I know many LAZY Christians who quote half understood party lines rather than really trying to get a grasp on the full complexity of their religion's teaching may say things similar to only those who know Jesus directly are saved... but that is oversimplified to the point of gross error.

Paul directly addresses the "good" pagan who hasn't heard the gospel (post Christ) and says they also have a path.

Peter notes that Jesus went into the spiritual limbo/purgatory during the 3 days He was dead and directly offered salvation to all those who had died previously.

And while I think universalism... as in all paths DO lead to God is absolutely wrong Wrong WRONG, not even Christianity is a 100% effective path to God, there are many scriptual verses that show that God can make a connection with people through any path if they are willing to be connected with.

Christianity does state that all must go to/through Jesus eventually, but there is reason to believe that there is more than one path to making a connection with Jesus. His sheep will know His voice when that final call home comes.

All Good done no matter the name of the path is still done for/with Christ. All Evil done, even when done in Christ's name is still done for/with Satan.

Jesus words recorded in Matt 25
Quote:


31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


Those who served God through service to others out of love are the sheep. Those who reject God by rejecting His call to serve others out of love are the goats.

What is taught that is likely very close to accurate is that rejection with knowledge of the invitation into relationship with Him is putting up a wall between oneself and God that will be nigh unto impossible to overcome without reversing one's course at some point. And that people who have never been taught the Gospel are at a great disadvantage in this life because their path to God is not as clear and because sin directly interferes with our ablity to connect with God, the longer they go without a clear path the more likely they are to end up becoming creatures who prefer darkness to light.

It is easier to become selfish and callous toward others, and eventually a creature that prefers darkness and does active evil in addition to refraining from active good, when you don't have God's guidance, assistance and communion.

Good people tend to know they are not really all that good because they see the larger picture and welcome light that shows them a path and how often they stumble off of the path and have to make course corrections.

Evil people tend to think they are fine because they cannot see the path nor themselves with any clarity while stumbling around in the darkness, and eventually they come to prefer the darkness and intentionally reject light.



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desertfox2004 wrote:
frumpish wrote:
According to many Christians God loves everyone.

But according to the two theological systems I know of I don't believe it.

In determinism, lets be honest, God clearly loves those destined for heaven and not so much those he decided to send to hell.

In indeterminism it might seem like people can choose to be in communion with God, but that only applies to those who hear about Jesus. This rules out anyone who lived before him, the majority of his contemporaries and even a large portion of people who lived after him.

Perhaps we need a post-Jesus Christianity where God loves everyone not just a select few.
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism. I think they want God to only love them and people like them.


Sounds like a strawman in the making. I'm Roman Catholic, and I was raised to believe (and still believe) that God loves all of us, as we are all of his children. I believe that God gives us the choice as to how we live our lives, and that there are consequences for poor choices. I believe God grieves when any one of his children makes poor choices and suffers for those choices. God doesn't send anyone to hell, but he laid out the rules as to how to attain Heaven or Hell, and he grants us free will to make bad decisions and send ourselves to where ever we end up.


I note you do not address the point that people who grow up in Christian countries/societies are at an overwhelming advantage when it comes to getting into heaven, and that hundreds of millions of people have no chance whatsoever (since they are never even exposed to Christianity).
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God loves everyone, but not everyone chooses to love God back. Does that mean God loves them less?
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GameCrossing wrote:
frumpish wrote:
quozl wrote:
frumpish wrote:
But I know that Christians get really upset at the idea of universalism. I think they want God to only love them and people like them.


I think generalizing and stereotyping upsets them more.


Yeah, I regret writing that. Thinking about Christianity gets me really upset and sometimes I lash out.


So what is it that you see about Christianity that upsets you to this degree... and how does that vary (if at all) from your day-to-day interactions with your Christian neighbors, friends and co-workers?

EDIT: I ask because it seems easier to get upset at whole concepts in the large scheme of things, but it varies greatly from the experience as it gets more granular.


I think I get upset because I have been taught that theology is supposed to line up like mathematics all perfect like, but when I try to stand back and look at it systematically all I see is contradictions and problems.
 
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Mathematics does that too, until you find the solution.
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Jythier wrote:
Mathematics does that too, until you find the solution.
This was actually quite profound. Jythier the philosopher!
 
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anthropomorphising an Nth dimensional being is for sci-fi novels


but i can see how it makes people more comfortable with the idea of a/the god(s) and how to react to love...or the idea of love
 
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frumpish wrote:
In indeterminism it might seem like people can choose to be in communion with God, but that only applies to those who hear about Jesus. This rules out anyone who lived before him, the majority of his contemporaries and even a large portion of people who lived after him.
A few questions come to mine:
1) Why do you assume that the only communion with God takes place while in this mortal life?
2) Do you think God would fail to create a path to salvation for those born before Christ?
3) Do you assume that noone before Christ knew of him? What about all the prophesies of Christ found in the Old Testiment? How about Moses, Abraham, etc...?
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Meerkat wrote:
Paul directly addresses the "good" pagan who hasn't heard the gospel (post Christ) and says they also have a path.

Peter notes that Jesus went into the spiritual limbo/purgatory during the 3 days He was dead and directly offered salvation to all those who had died previously. [\quote]First doesn't surprise me at all: second does. Didn't realise that it was explicit as everyone being directly offered salvation, thought it was more of a generic saving of 'Adam' and therefore some sense that the good people of previous ages could be saved (like noble pagans). Interested in the reference on Peter (believe you, just haven't seen it)

[q="Meerkat"]And while I think universalism... as in all paths DO lead to God is absolutely wrong Wrong WRONG, not even Christianity is a 100% effective path to God, there are many scriptual verses that show that God can make a connection with people through any path if they are willing to be connected with. [\quote]If all paths lead to God, then presumably no path does as well. I don't think you can consistently say that 'every religion is right' or even 'largely right', but it wouldn't be obviously strange to say that God leads everyone to salvation ultimately.

[q="Meerkat"]Christianity does state that all must go to/through Jesus eventually, but there is reason to believe that there is more than one path to making a connection with Jesus. His sheep will know His voice when that final call home comes.[/quote]Yes. The 'through Jesus' being read as 'by explicitly worshipping Jesus' always surprises me given Jesus' massive metaphysical significance in most theology.

[q="Meerkat"]All Good done no matter the name of the path is still done for/with Christ. All Evil done, even when done in Christ's name is still done for/with Satan.
Interested by this, as it seems to amount to salvation 'by works' at least in most practical senses (i.e. you could still claim that everyone was unworthy and that grace was required, but in practical effect and speaking simply, the 'nice' people are saved and the 'nasty' people aren't. I thought there were parts of scripture telling against this: that virtue alone is useless etc. Am I wrong? Or would you understand those as referring to empty, dishonest actions not motivated by love/compassion?
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